Traceability of different Apple Varieties by Multivariate Analysis of Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry Data
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RATIONALE: The awareness of customers of the origin of foods has become an important issue. The growing demand for foods that are healthy, safe and of high quality has increased the need for traceability and clear labelling. Thus, this study investigates the capability of C and N stable isotope ratios to determine the geographical origin of several apple varieties grown in northern Italy. METHODS: Four apple varieties (Cripps Pink, Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith) have been sampled in orchards located in the Districts of Bolzano, Ferrara, Verona and Udine (northern Italy). Carbon (δ(13) C) and nitrogen (δ(15) N) isotope values of the whole apple fruits and three sub-fractions (peel, pulp and seed) have been determined simultaneously by isotope ratio mass spectrometry. RESULTS: The δ(13) C and δ(15) N values of apples and apple sub-fractions, such as peel, seed and pulp, were significantly affected by the geographical origin and the fruit variety. The four varieties could be distinguished to a certain extent only within each district. A 99% correct identification of the samples according to their origin was, however, achieved by cross validation with the 'leave-one-out' method. CONCLUSIONS: This study proves the potential of stable isotopes to discriminate the geographical origin of apples grown in orchards located only a few hundreds of kilometres apart. Stable isotopes were also able to discriminate different apple varieties, although only within small geographical areas.